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Exercise Safely with Varicose Veins

Should you exercise if you have varicose veins? This is a question that many people have out of the fear that exercising will cause the vein issues to get worse. These fears are unfounded. Some form of exercise is needed not just for vein health but also for the health of the cardiovascular system and for overall health. But there are some exercises that people with varicose veins should and shouldn’t be doing.

The following are the exercises that will be beneficial for people with varicose veins.

  1. Walking

A mild and simple exercise like walking has tremendous benefits like it boosts blood circulation, strengthens the bones, improves blood glucose levels, elevates mood, boosts immunity, and lowers pain of arthritis. Since walking is a low-impact exercise it is good for people with varicose veins. There is no strain on the body in walking. The simple movement of the calf muscles during walking strengthen them and aid in better circulation which is beneficial for people with varicose veins. Walking 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week can prove to be beneficial. Brisk walking is better since it helps to burn more calories.

  1. Biking or Elliptical

Cycling or working out on an elliptical are good exercises for varicose veins. Not only are they low-impact, but they also strengthen the leg and calf muscles which aids in more blood flow through the legs. You can cycle outdoors or get a stationary bike and ride in your home too.

  1. Other Leg Exercises

These are easy leg exercises that you can do at home without the need for special equipment.

  1. Bicycle Legs

This exercise will feel as if you are riding a bike while lying on the floor. Here you lay down on your back on a mat, raise your legs and bend them at the knee to make a right angle. You then slowly kick your right leg out while keeping your left leg bent. Then slowly return the right leg to the starting position and switch. You can do similar things with your arms too and make the exercise more adventurous.

Kneeling Leg Lifts

This is another exercise that can be done while even watching TV and requires no equipment. Here you get down on all fours, lift one leg up and extend outward making an ‘L’ shape and hold for a few seconds then lower the leg and repeat. You can do 10 times on each leg, rest, and do another round.

Calf Raises

Building the strength of the calf muscles improves the body’s blood circulation and this exercise is a great way to do it. In this you stand up straight with the legs parallel, then rise up on the tiptoes and slowly lower back down. You can do this as many times as you feel comfortable.

Thigh Raises

This is a very simple exercise which can be done while watching TV or when one is free. All you have to do is sit down on a chair, stand up and again sit down. This should be repeated 15 times and then rest and repeat.

Side Leg Lifts

In this exercise you lay on your right side legs stacked on top of each other, then slowly lift the left leg up in the air and hold it for a moment and bring it down. This can be done a couple of times and then you can lay on the left side with legs stacked up, then lift the right leg and bring it down.

Ankle Rolls

This is a good exercise to do at the desk if you have been sitting for a long period of time. Here you have to keep the heels on the ground but lift the rest of the feet, then roll the feet clockwise for 15 seconds and then anticlockwise for 15 seconds and rest and do another round.


This exercise helps to maintain balance. This involves standing up straight with the heels together and toes pointed out, slowly rising up on the toes and lowering the back down then rocking back to the heels with toes off the ground and finally returning to the start and repeating.

Toe Pull-Back

This is a quick and simple exercise that is done by sitting on the chair, keeping the heel on the floor, and pulling the toes back towards the body. You can do it 15 times, then rest and then do another round.

Exercises to do with Caution (Or Avoid Altogether)

The following exercises should be avoided depending on the severity of the varicose veins


Running is a good exercise for the heart and the circulatory system as it boosts the flow of blood to the heart and other parts of the body. However, running on the treadmill or on the ground can worsen the pain in people with varicose veins as it puts too much pressure on the legs. People with varicose veins can instead jog on grass or a soft surface.


In recent times, weightlifting has gained prominence as a workout that offers numerous benefits, some of which include improved metabolism, increased endurance, increased bone strength, and increased productivity. However, weightlifting is not a great form of exercise for varicose veins as it adds to the stress on the veins and worsens the condition. If one is, however, keen on lifting weights they must make certain adjustments like swapping the heavyweights with the lighter ones, wearing compression socks during and after lifting, and taking a walk immediately after weightlifting to get the blood flowing.

Though the exercises of varicose veins are quite easy, it’s important that you need to do these with expert supervision.

Book an appointment with Shruthi Super Specialities for the right treatment and guidance.


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